Asia Business Conference – 2010

Next month, the Haas School of Business will host the Asia Business Conference (ABC). This is the largest Asia focused student-run conference on the West Coast. Founded by Dr. Laura Tyson, economic advisor to President Obama and former Dean of the Haas School of Business, this conference intends to increase awareness and insights about businesses in Asia. 2010 marks the conferences’ 10th anniversary, and is expected to draw over 500 attendees. Audiences include various professionals and MBA students from the Bay Area who are interested in entrepreneurship and businesses in Asia.

The theme of the 2010 conference, “Asia: Shifting the Global Center of Gravity,” seeks to provocatively discuss whether major business and commercial activities are increasingly centered on the Asian region.

The conference seeks to address these issues from 4 perspectives:

  • Macroeconomic trends occurring in Asia’s ascent and its broader implications on capital flows and labor
  • Rise of Asia as a region of business and technology innovation as well as entrepreneurship
  • Challenges of leadership, organizational alignment and people management amidst relentless growth in Asia
  • Implications for personal development and career growth to take advantage of Asia’s rapid growth

I’m pretty excited about the list of incredible keynote speakers that we have lined up for the event. The list includes Scott Matlock, Chairman M&A, Morgan Stanley Asia, Joi Ito, CEO of Creative Commons and General Partner of Neoteny Labs, Lim Siong Guan, Group President, Government of Singapore Investment Corporation and Arun Sarin, Senior Advisor, KKR and former CEO of Vodafone. (WOW!). Further, in the spirit of innovation, this years organizers have included a VC networking event over lunch. This exclusive lunch will allow entrepreneurs to take advantage of opportunity to exchange ideas with , lawyers and experienced entrepreneurs. The conference also includes panels ranging from clean tech, India, tech, consumer, finance and global operations with eminent thought leaders as panelists

Organizers have been working hard to make this conference a huge success. I’m sure it will be one – and I hope this blog has sparked some of your interest as well. To learn more about ABC, check out the conference website.

To attend or learn more about the conference, you can check the following resources as well.

Hope to see all of you on Feb 20th at Berkeley!


Haas Tech Club @ Crunchies

Students at Berkeley will never stop raving about the opportunities you get to interact with techies and entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley. Last week, about 10 Haasies got together to attend the “Crunchies”.

The Crunchies are to technology what the Oscars are to Hollywood. The awards celebrate the best tech accomplishments of 2009. GigaOm, VentureBeat and TechCrunch were the co-hosts and masters in ceremonies for the event that was held in the elegant Herbst Theater in San Francisco.

I cheered on as of my favourite tech apps, products and services were recognized for their awesomeness. Some of these included Dropbox, Facebook. Google Docs and Mint. Better luck to Jack Dorsey (for square), Tony Hsieh (Zappos), Yelp, Chatter and Groupon (which I LOVE!!), who probably lost our narrowly to winners in their respective categories. The complete list of winners is available at

The award ceremony was followed by an amazing after-party. I made a list of the evening’s highlights (in no particular order)

1. Meeting Mark Pincus – Truly one of the most prolific entrepreneurs of our times, Mark Pincus also spoke about how Zynga (through Farmville and other social games) was raising money for charitable causes.

2. Applauding Ron Conway for winning “Angel Investor of the Year” (joke of the evening was that he was giving $50K to everyone in the audience to start their own company). Of course, if you wanted examples of how Silicon Valley really pays tributes to its heroes, you should read Y-Combinators blog requesting their supporters to vote for Ron Conway.

3. Google giving away 10 Nexus One phones to lucky winners in the audience. Of course, with my sort of luck, it wasn’t a surprise that I didn’t win. However, Vic Gundotra (VP Engineering at Google) did declare that Google Voice will come to iPhone “one way or the other”. Apparently, as quoted by JP, the HTC president, Vic also said “Haas Tech Club? We need to hire more of you guys!” Couldn’t agree more, Sir!

4. My classmate Jason Mills, gets a photograph with the founder of Facebook – Mark Zuckerberg. Read Mark’s interview with Mike Arrington for his thoughts on social networking in the context of today.
5. A fun way to catch up with classmates in the middle of a long break!

HTC Members at the Crunchies After Party

Gambling for charity!

Hanging with The Mule – Founder of Smule, iPhone App Company, with titles such as the Ocarina Flute and I Am T-Pain.

Volunteering – Checking in the VIPs and Attendee for the Event


1/4th of an MBA

Early December, I glanced at my calender to see when I’d get some relief from the continuously pile of work that just never seemed to reduce – no matter how much I toiled. From academics to sports to extra-curricular activities and student associations, I feel like I’m on a full-speed journey.

I marked Dec as the month when things might have temporarily slowed down, and took some time to reflect on what I’ve learnt since becoming a quarter of an MBA

Academics: I’m no longer scared of financial jargon. Shorting T-Bills to going long on tech stocks, I thank my finance professor who mercilessly ensured that we spoke the language, and spoke it well. And that we understood the numbers. Coming to b-school with a non-finance background, the finance and accounting courses seemed intimidating at first. Now, I’m happy to have taken at least the beginners steps. Over the next year, I hope to take some more advanced courses that will help me get a stronger understanding of corporate finance, managerial accounting and valuations. I loved Marketing – and Rashi Glazer (I think almost everyone in my cohort and batch would agree that he is one of the best Marketing professors ever). As an international student, I absolutely loved the way experiential learning is incorporated into the curriculum. For instance, in our Leading People course, we conducted a real organizational audit and presented our findings and recommendations to companies. And of course, let me not forget Micro – after all, it was a Haas professor who took the Nobel for economics this year.

Student Activities: Wow, now that I look back, I’m shocked I ever got time to do stuff apart from club activities. First, I volunteered to help out with >play 2009 – Berkeley’s Digital Media and Entertainment Conference. As part of the Expo team, I had an opportunity to invite and interact with some of the neatest tech startups from the Bay Area. It was a very memorable experience to meet some of the smartest tech entrepreneurs and to see their gadgets, tools and products. Of course, preparation for this event started even before classes, so you can imagine how much time and effort this took. Next up, I signed up to be an executive committee member for the Haas Tech Club – and spent quite a bit of time brainstorming how we could further improve the club’s agenda. I’m also part of the marketing team and technology panel for the 2010 Asia Business Conference and on the organizing team for the 2010 women in leadership career panel. At Berkeley, student associations and conference are one of the best ways to supplement your learning experiences. By interacting with students with similar interests and passions, I’ve gained very interesting perspectives and built some very strong networks, both within and outside Haas.

Career: Some may argue that career stands to be the most important aspect of B-school. The career center at Haas recognizes this, and in my experience, has done the utmost to support the aspirations of MBA students. Even before the academic year started, I had the opportunity to speak with career advisors and 2nd year career coaches to figure out my plans of getting my dream internships. Over multiple advising sessions, mock interviews, resume and cover letter reviews, I do feel OK with my preparations. Berkeley and Haas provide innumerable resources such as a massive database of 100’s of alumni in various industries, adjunct advisors (who have helped me out even during holidays and vacations!) and a vast career portal. While the next two months will tell me how the efforts and preparation pays off, there is no doubt in my mind about the transformation and refinement that’s come about in students in just a few months.

My first quarter at Haas has been exhilarating – and my post just about skims the surface of my experiences. If I had to rewrite my admissions essays on “Why Haas”, I know a 1000 words would just not be sufficient. Imagine then, what a whole 2 years here would be!


Career Trek to Symantec

Last week, I had the chance to visit Symantec as part of the “career treks” that are organized by the Haas Technology Club. These treks allow us to visit company facilities, see their work environment, speak with members of the senior management team and gain a better perspective of the various roles and responsibilities across various groups.

Our trek started with a visit to the Symantec Labs. These labs were not IT software labs, rather they were test environments for their engineering groups. This was where Symantec simulated multiple environments to do thorough tests and quality assurances before releasing their products. We got to see some of the most high-end, high performance machines in the industry today. The lab forms a very critical part of Symantec’s product development process, and it was amazing to see the infrastructure that they built up.

Later, we were addressed by Kathy Bonanno, VP of Finance and Josh Kahn. Kathy spoke about the various functions performed by the finance organization within Symantec. It is always exciting to learn about a company that has continued to grow as rapidly as Symantec, both organically and through external acquisitions. We had a chance to speak with recent interns and graduates who enthusiastically shared their experiences thus far.

Josh Kahn spoke about the various products that Symantec has come up with, and the areas of growth for the company. We learnt about various interactions between product, engineering and marketing managers. It was also interesting to hear Josh’s take on the competitive landscape, and how that would pan out for the company.

Later, we had an informal panel discussion with various Haas alums in the company. Alums were in a variety of roles that spanned finance, corporate strategy, business developments, product management, product marketing management and business operations. The culture of Symantec had a very Haas-like feel – collaborative, innovative, energetic and entrepreneurial.

Overall, it was a great day. Treks like this play a huge role in the career search process. Learning about a company is instrumental part of the job/internship seeking process, and on behalf of all the students that visited, I like to thank the Symantec team for organizing this fantastic event.


The Multi Club Firm Night

This week, several student-run clubs got together to sponsor the multi-club firm nights. The Multi-Club Firm Night is an annual career event hosted by the Haas Marketing Club, General Management & Strategy Club, the Digital Media & Entertainment, the Technology and the Sales Club. This year over 14 firms attended the event, including Adobe, Apple, Chevron, Cisco, Clorox, DelMonte, E&J Gallo, Ivelich Stone, Leapfrog, NetApp, Neutrogena, SalesForce, Sony, Symantec, Gallup and VMWare.

It was fascinating to see 2 vastly different companies just 2 booths apart – Apple, which beat Wall Street expectations this quarter, and Zynga, which probably beat its own expectations of how fast they’d grow.

It was a perfect opportunity for students to spend 1-1 time with company representatives, understand their unique propositions and get a feel for what kind of career they’d like to choose. For a high tech enthusiast like me, I truly enjoyed meeting all the companies that are revolutionizing our digital futures – Of course, I can’t wait to be part of that revolution as well!


The weekend of the Blue Angels

One of the things I really enjoy at Berkeley is that I can take a break from my MBA experience every once in a while. Yes, there are a million assignments (Only four, but I assure you it feels like a million), but my brain can only process so much.

So, I headed out to the Marina yesterday to catch some action by the Blue Angels. For someone who’s grown up watching Top Gun and Pensacola: Wings of Gold, it was exhilarating to watch the squadron’s six demonstration pilots fly the Boeing F/A-18 Hornets. They did a variety of maneuvers and formations, including the Delta and the Diamond. All this in spite of a seemingly cloudy day that may have canceled the performance.

Here’s a video footing from youtube

I couldn’t have asked for a better break from my assignments.. which reminds me… I got to get back to them.. sigh!